We’ve all gone Bailey bonkers

Thu 01 May 2014

Bailey McConnellIt’s been a mad week this week with television cameras and journalists all over the place thanks to the latest talent show sensation – our very own Bailey McConnell.

Just in case you missed it, Bailey is a fifteen year old music technology student at the College.  He is a highly accomplished singer-songwriter and wowed the judges on Britain’s Got Talent at the weekend.  He got a standing ovation from the audience and three massive yeses from the judges (@davidwalliams, @amanda_holden, @aleshaofficial and the absent @simoncowell)  who was called away to be at the birth of his baby, later said that having watched the audition he too would have put Bailey through to the next stage of the competition.

Bailey was a hit with the viewers too so-much-so that when he came back in to see us all after his successful appearance we had literally hundreds of teenagers packed into our Atrium café (Let’s do the show right here!) all cheering him on and queuing up for selfies with the latest pop sensation.  Now I should make it clear that having my picture taken with him was nothing to do with being star struck nor indeed did I tweet it just to demonstrate to all my fellow College Principals who is the coolest of them all.  What I should have done was take another picture just a few minutes later showing how brilliantly grounded our students are.  Straight after making a big fuss and hailing him like a star, Bailey’s classmates were all back in lectures with him, treating him the same as they ever have and he expecting neither more nor less from them.

Bailey’s not the only scion of the McConnell Clan who’s at the College.  His mum is an apprentice hairdresser with us.  Family links like theirs remind us that we are a community within a community and it’s a side of the College greatly to be treasured.

Bailey is not our only student ton be noticed by the stars this week, In another opening of another show, the students appearing this week at the Stantonbury Theatre in their performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (@josephmusical) might have feared they were going to be overshadowed by Bailey but not a bit of it.  They received a tweet to “break a leg” from none other than Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber himself (@officialALW) which gave them and their teaching team a great boost.

For those of us singing along to Joseph or watching, cheering on or tweeting for #TeamBailey it’s all great fun of course.  For Bailey himself it’s a serious chance to achieve his dreams and of course we’re all hoping he makes it to the very top.  We take the Creative and Performing Arts really seriously here at Milton Keynes College.  For a start, our music technology, performing arts and creative students work incredibly hard and their courses are not soft options by any stretch of the imagination.  What’s more, entertainment, culture – these are things which define a society. 

When the BBC carried out a massive poll a few years ago to find out who people felt were the greatest Britons Shakespeare came fifth and John Lennon seventh.  To have two “performers” in that top seven from all the giants of our rich history just shows how important the sector is.
The skills performing arts students learn are vital in so many walks of life.  They are encouraged to be creative, taught how to communicate, coached in how to take and give constructive feedback and they build self-confidence, all of which are essential in so many jobs and all of which employers tell us they look for when recruiting – employability skills as they’re known in the jargon.  After all, All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.

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